Fast Five Quiz: Autism Spectrum Disorder

Stephen Soreff, MD


July 05, 2019

Therapies that are reported to help some individuals with autism include the following:

  • Assisted communication: This may involve using keyboards, letter boards, word boards, and other devices (eg, the Picture Exchange Communication System), with the assistance of a therapist.

  • Auditory integration training: In this procedure, the individual listens to specially prepared sounds through headphones.

  • Sensory integration therapy: This is a treatment for motor and sensory motor problems that is typically administered by occupational therapists.

  • Exercise and physical therapy: Exercise is often therapeutic for individuals with autistic disorder; a regular program of activity prescribed by a physical therapist may be helpful.

Social skills training helps some children with ASD, including those with comorbid anxiety disorders. Children with ASD and comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may not benefit from social skills training.

Several anecdotal reports suggested that secretin, a gastrointestinal hormone that may function as a neurotransmitter, was an effective intervention for the symptoms of ASD. This led to several scientific studies of secretin for children with ASD. However, reviews of these trials failed to demonstrate that secretin had a beneficial effect on these children.

Children with ASD appear to be sensitive to medication and may experience serious adverse effects that outweigh any beneficial effects. For example, children may develop catatonia when treated with haloperidol and other traditional neuroleptics. 

Read more on the treatment of ASD.


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